Suspect ran on supremacist platform

Onetime candidate for Caledonia board faces gun charges after FBI raid

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel/December 25, 2002
By Tom Kertscher

Franksville -- The man arrested by the FBI at his home here Monday ran a white supremacist campaign for the Caledonia Town Board in 1990 just before shooting the teenage brother of one of his skinhead friends.

Michael Kenneth Faust, 35, "mostly stays in the house," 12-year neighbor Deborah Vinkavich said Tuesday.

Aside from his white supremacist views, "that's all anybody knows about him, (that) he's just a little strange," she said.

As many as 20 law enforcement officers from the FBI and local police agencies converged on Faust's home about 7:30 a.m. Monday, Vinkavich said. She said she called Caledonia police after seeing a rifle-toting, camouflaged man - later determined to be an officer - run through her yard, she said.

Faust, along with a Chinese-made, AK-47-style rifle and other guns, was taken into custody without incident, the FBI said.

Authorities made the arrest based partly on the statement of a 19-year-old Racine man who said he was a member of the National Socialist Movement and other white supremacist organizations. That man, Adam J. Goltz, said he had gotten firearms training from Faust at Faust's home this past spring and summer, according to federal court documents.

Faust is charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm. His felony conviction was for the Feb. 19, 1990, shooting of a then-14-year-old Kenosha resident and the brother of a girl Faust had met through a neo-Nazi group. He was shot twice in the chest while home sick from school.

Faust was convicted by a Kenosha County Circuit Court jury of attempted first-degree intentional homicide and sentenced to eight years in prison. He was also ordered to continue psychiatric treatment, court records show.

The shooting occurred one day before the primary election for the Caledonia Town Board. Then an unemployed tavern bouncer, Faust got 50 of 1,135 votes and finished third among three candidates, failing to make the runoff.

At the time, Faust used his given name, Kenneth Michael Botsch. He changed his name last year, court records show.

Faust had campaigned to preserve the white race, keep minorities out of town government and oppose integration, and said he was a follower of former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke. After being charged in the shooting, however, he admitted to a judge that his mother is Jewish and insisted he was not a Nazi. His lawyer at the time said the shooting was prompted by psychiatric problems and fear of persecution for being Jewish.

The FBI said that over the past several months, however, sources have said Faust has routinely sent group e-mails that include photographs of Faust standing in front of a red flag with a swastika and holding an assault-type weapon similar to an AK-47.

A woman who answered the door Tuesday afternoon at the Nicholson Road home shared by Faust and his grandmother wanted to know if it was the FBI calling. She said Faust "was always real good," then refused further comment.

Thomas O'Dell, one of the candidates who ran against Faust for Caledonia Town Board, said he didn't recall Faust attending any public forums.

Faust is being held without bail pending a hearing Friday in U.S. District Court in Milwaukee.

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